Instagram marketing is now big business and not to be trifled with. Having taken the internet by storm and fuelled followers’ unbridled thirst for beautiful, aspirational images, Instagram is a digital marketer’s dream and an efficient channel to build close and engaging relationships with your followers.

So, if you’ve not started incorporating Instagram into your digital marketing toolset, it’s definitely not too late. Now’s the time to get on board and start driving an Instagram strategy that will help you engage with your fans and access new audiences.

Here’s how:

Unlock new audiences with Hashtags

If you’ve already started posting on Instagram but haven’t had much success yet, try taking a look at your hashtags. Using an appropriate set of hashtags with every single post is absolutely key to getting discovered by audiences filtering their searches by those hashtags.

Hashtags help you get discovered by people passionate about your niche, and these audiences tend to be the most engaged, appreciative and vocal. So, before your start posting, spend a little time researching appropriate hashtags. Try to find the most relevant and popular ones but make sure you review how these hashtags have been used over time so you’re confident you’ll be using them in the right context.

Don’t be tempted to overstuff each post with too many hashtags. Be astute and use them wisely. Furthermore, never be tempted to piggyback on hugely popular but totally irrelevant hashtags – this is sure to turn off your audience and make you appear really desperate. Instead, if you’d like to ride on the crest of a popular hashtag trend, create an image an post dedicated and relevant to it.

Be Proactive in Your Engagement Efforts

If you’re trying to cultivate a wider fan base, don’t be shy about proactively engaging with your audience. Try connecting with people who have liked one of two of your images but haven’t yet followed you. You know they like your posts (because they’ve literally “Liked” them) so pop over to their profile and like one or two of their posts back. Comment on anything interesting and relevant, and if appropriate, follow their profile. This will definitely bring you to their attention and will encourage them to follow you in return.

Always, always, always reply to people who comment on your posts. If someone’s taken the time to write something positive and encouraging on your post, it’s an invitation and prime opportunity to start nurturing a relationship with them. So go ahead, say hello, thank them, compliment them on what they’re doing, and start building the relationship from there.

One other thing. While you’ll be using your hashtags to help audiences discover your brand, you can also use the same technique to discover brands with whom you may share some affinities. This is an extremely effective way of discovering people you could potentially collaborate with or do business with in the future. Using relevant hashtag, search for which brands are using those hashtags most efficiently. Examine their profiles and websites, view their recent Instagram posts, and start liking and commenting on the most relevant. This will most definitely bring you to their attention and will open the path to potentially a long and fruitful relationship.

Use Instagram Live and Instagram Stories

Yes, even more popular than Facebook Live or Snapchat Stories, Instagram’s versions have the added benefit of highlighting your profile at the top of everyone’s screen, prioritised over their feeds. This is a fantastic way of staying front of mind, all of the time. Instagram stories in particular can be fun, intimate, casual, personable and engaging, giving your audience an insider’s view to what goes on behind closed doors. They’ll bound to feel important, appreciated and connected when you let them in, thus endearing you to them even further. Get into the habit of updating your stories every couple of hours and always keeping the tone positive, upbeat and light – giving your audience a brief respite from their working day while letting them always have something to look forward to in your feed.

Be efficient with your time and tools

As marketers gradually learn to be more proficient with each social channel and learn to tailor their content to the subtle quirks of each platform, it’s become abundantly clear the we need to be super efficient with our time if we’re going to derive maximum benefits from our efforts.

Instagram has become increasingly demanding with the need to curate and prep beautiful images, analyse hashtags, define appropriate calls-to-action, and engage with our fan base. So, efficiency becomes a number one priority. Make use of scheduling tools and image prep apps. Learn to cross promote content across all channels. And, as Instagram is primarily a mobile app, learn to use your mobile for image sourcing, editing, posting and reviewing. If you can do all this, even on the move or in your down time, you’ll find Instagram working much hard for you and your brand.

Sounds all too much? Have no fear. Why not give us a call and we’ll talk you through it? You can contact the Instagram team at Digital Gold HQ by telephoning+44 (0) 203 598 8661 or emailing info@digitalgoldhq.com.

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Nina Epellé
Nina Epellé
Founder and Principal Consultant, Digital Gold HQ

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